The Art of Science
Like so many scientific discoveries, the radiometer—also known as the "light mill" because of how light makes the vanes spin—was invented more or less by accident. In 1873, while measuring minute amounts of substances, chemist Sir William Crookes noticed that sunlight disturbed the accuracy of his data. Investigating this effect, he invented this fascinating and geekily beautiful device, which makes the conversion of light into kinetic energy look mad cool. This particular radiometer, hand-blown by glass artist Thomas von Koch with a black and white spiral in its stem, also happens to be beautiful. A unique office gift, its mezmerizing spin just might prompt your own next great idea. Handmade in Pennsylvania.